When building a prequel to A New Hope, the writers and producers of the Lucasfilm top brass had a lot of possible material to work with. In the old Star Wars canon, that time period was absolutely flush with exiled Jedi, daring heroes, and villains that never made it anywhere close to the big screen. Eventually, they went with a set of heroes and villains that were either big screen mainstays or total newcomers, but new information suggests that might not have always been the case.
Guest starring on a podcast called La Fosa del Rancor, filmmaker Marcos Cabota (who directed I Am Your Father, a documentary about man-behind-the-Darth-Vader mask David Prowse) tells the story of a friend who went into an audition for Rogue One to find a familiar name on the fragmentary script.
“In fact, they were talking about a Jedi,” Cabota said, “who then did not appear in the movie but did appear somehow... Rahm Kota was in Rogue One, I can tell you, he was a blind Jedi. And what do we find in Rogue One? A blind user of the Force... In the script we had from Rogue One, before coming Rogue One, it was Rahm Kota.”
For the unaware, Rahm Kota is an old Jedi Master who featured in The Force Unleashed video games (of which I am on the record as a big fan). He’s a fantastic character, a Jedi built not in the design of an ascetic monk but of an embittered samurai warrior, fighting as a rebel partisan against the Empire with his own private army. In the opening of The Force Unleashed, he attacks an Imperial facility in an attempt to draw Vader out, only to be attacked by Starkiller instead. He loses his sight, and is later found drunk in Cloud City, where he’s recruited to be Starkiller’s mentor on the path to the Light. It’s classic stuff.
As Cabota points out, that version of Kota might have evolved into Chirrut Imwe, Donnie Yen’s much more traditionally monk-like Force adherent first encountered on Jedha. And Screen Rant additionally points out that sometimes characters are misnamed in early scripts as a form of smokescreen — Rahm Kota could have just been a fun reference for a character who was never meant to be Kota at all.
It’s a shame he never showed up, though maybe for the best in that it further allowed Rogue One to be its own standalone work. Also, I know what you’re thinking, reader: Kyle Katarn is clearly the coolest Jedi Master from the old canon. On this, my friends, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.